There is a dynamic tension between what is, and has been, and what is emerging - what is calling to be created into the world. Businesses are facing that as the old models are no longer working in this new culture. And the new ones have yet to be created. This is a fertile, rich time in the “in-between” because it means we get to be on the edge of conscious creativity. A space has opened up for exploration, experimentation, real-time feedback and modification. We get to create and "play with" what is next.
Emergence is a creative process of birthing something new into the world. Like with any new any new birth, there is a living, dynamic tension between expansion - the pushing forth - and contraction - maintaining the status quo. In understanding this tension, and working with it - not fighting it or denying it - the emergence process becomes much easier…because it is already how creativity naturally works.
Navigating dynamic tension requires giving up old approaches to emerging new structures - like either/or, compromise, and sometimes even consensus. Either/Or means a choice between one or another - this or that, us or them. Something/one wins and something/one loses. Compromise reduces - each side reduces their original version until a compromise is reached - a "less than" is agreed upon. Consensus is often also a process of reduction - boiling it down to a common denominator upon which all can agree. Something is usually lost for all involved. The alive edge of chaos - the most creatively fertile place - gives way to the comfort of the most people.
Emergence, on the other hand, is a “yes-anding” with each other and with the unexpected. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It includes that which is most important to each side and space for the unexpected elements - and a Third Way emerges that is greater than both sides. In order for this to happen, all sides must be willing to release their original version (their status quo) to the more inclusive emergent vision (the expansion). Some parts might be let go, but the essence and the relevance remain.
Improvisers are trained to do this all the time on order to create coherently in real-time in front of an audience. Abandoning the limitations of each person’s original agenda allows something more vital, alive, and coherent to emerge collectively. Just when you think you "see" where it is going, you have to surrender that vision to the larger unfolding of what is really happening in the moment. I believe it is now becoming increasingly important for everyone to do this to create the new business models that give way to more generative business structures.
This is both a scary time and an exciting time in the world. Destruction is all around…and with it, the promise of new creation. I think the more we become comfortable with dynamic tension and the unexpected, the more the fear can transform into pro-creative energy as we all navigate this new frontier together.
By Michelle James 2009